Badger Blog Alliance

Sic Semper Tyrannis

Friday, March 02, 2007

Ex-Con, Ex-Gang Member Talks

Richard Harris, an ex-convict and a former member of the Gangster Disciples took his anti-gang message to Knapp Elementary School in Racine.

His message is one that needs to be heard by kids before they hear the siren's call of the street gangs:
Harris, 38, knows of what he speaks. Growing up in a Chicago housing project, Harris joined the Gangster Disciples at 14.

Harris knows how important it is to connect with young people. If the right people don’t, there are gangs that are more than willing to fill the void. It happened to him and he is reaching out to children before they make the same mistake.

Now, Harris, an ex-convict who started his own non-profit, travels to schools talking with students about where bad decisions can lead them.

It takes a lot to keep a classroom of fifth-graders in rapt attention. But Harris did, for 45 minutes. He had no tricks up his sleeve. No bling. None of the fancy stuff children see on TV.
He knows the lure of gangster rap and the misguided glamour of the thug life, but he’ll have none of that. So he isn’t afraid to take young students to task for the way they dress and act.

No baggy pants.

No symbols cut into their hair.

“Life is real. You need to prepare every day that you walk through these doors, especially if you’re black and poor,” Harris said. “Education is your way out.”